Embracing the latest gadgety goodness is a breeze with Mercedes-Benz mbrace, a system of top-notch safety features, cloud-based apps and integrated data connection.

Since its debut in 2008, mbrace's core has been navigation. Now, the automaker is building on that tech with a score of apps on the second-generation mbrace that will make getting where you need to go much easier and much more fun.

There's a slew of Mercedes-developed apps specifically for mbrace, including Facebook, Yelp, Google Local Search and news feeds from the Associated Press. Google Local Search allows you to search for any location on the web and navigate to it, or save it for a later trip.

Since these apps are connected to the vehicle's on-board system, they don't rely on a connected smartphone to function. But those toting beloved iPhones or Androids will be blessed with scores of remote access apps, too. A standout is Send2Benz, which lets you send the address of a point of interest directly to the navigation system. Need to swing by and pick someone up? Drive2Friend lets them send their location to your car simply by replying to a text message.

The Mobile App also can help you find your way back to your vehicle by locating it on a map, in case you can't remember where you parked. It offers remote locking/unlocking, as well, and can even sound the horn.

Other sweet apps include My MBFS, which lets you access your Mercedes-Benz account to make a payment or contact your dealership.

Those looking to get out of dodge this summer will love mbrace's travel assistance features. Drivers can reach out to experts for concierge services -- everything from reservations at a chic new eatery to the hottest tickets in the town you're visiting. You also can nab nav help from an actual person with just the push of a button. It's a kind of virtual co-pilot, hanging with you every step (or turn) of the way.

Getting the latest updates on weather and driving conditions are another huge help for all your summer traveling needs. You'll get voice-delivered reports of what's going on in the skies and on the road based on where you are, and you can personalize favorite routes.

On the emergency and safety front, mbrace shines, from its SOS button to having the ability to set up driving zones online (perfect for parents with teen drivers). You even can be alerted if said teens are driving faster than the speed you set up, or if they've crossed a boundary.

But the good kind of boundary pushing is what Mercedes-Benz mbrace does so effortlessly, and that makes it worth the trip.

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Lindsay Martell has covered entertainment news for E! Entertainment and tech trends for TechTV, CNBC, Newsfactor, and Sci-Tech Today, among others. She lives in Oakland, California.

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